“‘Why do you ask My name,’ the Angel of the Lord asked him, ‘since it is wonderful’ … and he did a wonderful thing while Manoah and his wife were watching” (Judges 13:18-19, HCSB).
Manoah and his wife were unable to conceive and had no children. But Manoah and his wife (we’re never told her name) eventually became the parents of Samson through God’s intervention into their lives.
One day the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said she would give birth to a son who would save Israel from the Philistines. The woman told Manoah and he prayed for God to send His angel again to instruct them in what they should do for the boy who would be born to them. A second time the angel appeared to Manoah’s wife but this time she ran and got Manoah and they both had an encounter with this messenger from God.
The Angel of the Lord repeated the instructions to Manoah that He had given to his wife at His first appearance. Since the boy would be a Nazirite, consecrated to God from birth, Manoah’s wife should not drink any alcoholic beverages or eat any unclean food while she was pregnant because those were the stipulations of the Nazirite vow (see Numbers 6:1-21).
Manoah then invited the angel to stay and have a meal with them. The angel declined Manoah’s offer and instead invited Manoah to present it as a burnt offering to God.
Apparently, Manoah still did not completely understand or needed reassurance that he was having an encounter with God. In either case, Manoah asked the Angel of the Lord His name.
The Angel of the Lord refused to answer the question but described His name as “wonderful” (His name “is wonderful” not His name is “Wonderful”). The Hebrew word for “wonderful” could also be translated as “extraordinary” or “beyond understanding” and is almost always used to describe God’s action or character rather than human experience.
So there’s a delightful word play taking place here. First and foremost, God was a “wonderful” God; hence, He was going to do something “wonderful” or “extraordinary” in the lives of Manoah and his wife through the miraculous birth of a baby boy by a woman who prior to this encounter with God couldn’t conceive!
Additionally, this encounter with God by way of the angelic messenger was made “wonderful” or “extraordinary” by the angel ascending in the flames of the burnt offering as Manoah and his wife watched.
If even God’s name is wonderful, then how wonderful must God Himself be?
And if we serve such a wonderful God and His wonderful name is stamped on our lives, then what wonderful lives He enables us to have!
Jesus said, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10).
Yes, it’s a wonderful life when you serve a wonderful God!
“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, HCSB).